The large, winged bugs with beady red eyes made their presence known in Maryland over the weekend.
Brood X (pronounced Brood 10) cicadas ascended from dime-sized holes in the ground and started climbing trees and shedding their exoskeletons.
Here’s what you need to know about our once-every-17-years visitors.
I thought the cicadas were already supposed to be here?
The bugs arrived in Maryland in 2004 around May 11, but cool temperatures across the state delayed their 2021 appearance.
Cicadas dig out once the soil reaches 64 degrees for three days or longer. With air temperatures reaching a high of 84 degrees by the end of the week, it’s likely the soil will warm up enough for a full-on emergence. That’s when thousands and millions of cicadas become billions. Maybe even trillions.
Will this be a hot spot for cicadas?
Brood X is expected in a swath of territory covering at least 15 states, but Gene Kritsky, the dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, told CNN that the loudest, most populated spots are expected to be parts of Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., and, yes, Baltimore.
Gov. Larry Hogan has named May and June Maryland Magicicada Months.
Are they more prevalent so far in certain parts of our circulation area?
The Evening Sun
Kritsky created an app called “Cicada Safari” to collect reports from the public.
According to the app, more than 2,400 were reportedly seen over the weekend in the Towson and Columbia area, 3,400 near Gaithersburg and 4,100 in Crofton. But for every one that gets counted there are many, many thousands more.
What are the cicadas up to at the moment?
First, juvenile cicadas, or nymphs, climb out of the ground and attach themselves to trees, fence posts and signs. Locking their legs in place, they do their final molt, littering the outdoors with creepy, crispy shells.
When does the symphony begin?
After four or five days, a new shell will form. At that point, the males will begin to fly and start seeking their mates by using organs called tymbals to sing — sometimes creating a din that can be about 90 decibels, about as loud as a lawn mower.
“If I were a betting man, I would look to have your earplugs ready to go by the end of next week,” CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said late last week.
Once the mating is done, female cicadas will lay as many as 500 eggs, which are deposited into slits dug into branches.
In roughly six weeks, nymphs will hatch, crawl from the nest, fall to the earth and start digging underground. They’ll start feeding on the sap of tree roots but won’t emerge again until 2038.